New Belgian King is crowned

Belgium's King Albert II has abdicated following a 20-year reign, handing over the throne to his son Philippe.

Latest ITV News reports

New King of Belgium is crowned

As the UK waits for news of the newest member of the Royal family, Belgium got a new King today. It was a day of spectacular pomp and pageantry, as King Phillipe took over from his father Albert, who has abdicated due to age and failing health.

ITV News reporter Helen Callaghan reports:

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King Philippe salutes the crowds in Belgium

King Philippe I salutes the crowds in Belgium, succeeding his 79-year-old father Albert II following his formal abdication.

Belgium's seventh monarch took his oath in Belgium's three official languages - Dutch, French and German. His father abdicated following 20 years on the throne.

King Philippe of Belgium and Queen Mathilde salute the crowd from the balcony of the Royal Palace. Credit: REUTERS/Yves Herman
King Philippe of Belgium takes the oath during a swearing in ceremony at the Belgian Parliament. Credit: REUTERS/Bruno Fahy
King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium salute the crowd from a convertible limousine. Credit: REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

Philippe sworn in as Belgian king after father abdicates

Belgium's former Crown Prince Philippe has become the seventh king in the country's 183-year-old history after his father Albert completed his pre-announced abdication.

Outgoing King Albert shared a hug with his son after marking Belgian National Day with his abdication. Credit: REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

Philippe, 53, ascends the throne in a nation which is split between a Dutch-speaking north, where some want to break free from Belgium, and a more pro-royal and pro-Belgian French-speaking south.

The 79-year-old signed an act of abdication during a ceremony at the Royal Palace to lead to the transition of power. Credit: REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

He took his oath in Belgium's three official languages - Dutch, French and German - in parliament after Albert signed a legislative act to step down, becoming the second Belgian monarch to do so.

Belgium's King Albert abdicates after 20-year reign

Belgium has a new monarch after King Albert handed the throne to his son Philippe to end his 20-year reign.

The transition of power at the top of the Belgium monarchy has taken place in Brussels as father makes way to son. Credit: REUTERS/Kevin Coombs
Queen Paola and King Albert II greeted crowds on their way to St Gudule Cathedral. Credit: REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
Crown Princess Mathilde and Crown Prince Philippe will now assume the role of Queen and King. Credit: REUTERS/Michael Kooren

King Albert explains abdication in televised address to Belgian nation

Belgium's King Albert II to abdicate later today

Belgium's King Albert II will abdicate later today following a 20-year reign, handing over the throne to his son Philippe.

The 79-year-old King will sign away his rights as the largely ceremonial ruler of the kingdom in the presence of Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo.

King Albert II of Belgium.
King Albert II of Belgium will abdicate later today and his son, Philippe, will be crowned King. Credit: NICOLAS MAETERLINCK/Belga/Press Association Images

After the morning ceremony at the royal palace, Philippe, 53, will take the king's oath before the nation's legislators at the Belgium's parliament.

Afterwards, the newly-crowned King Philippe and Queen Mathilde are expected to greet the crowds below in a balcony scene at the palace before fireworks end a slew of ceremonies marking the day.

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King Albert II abdicates Belgian throne

Belgium's King Albert II has said he will abdicate and leave the throne to his son Philippe on 21st July.

In a televised address he said he now felt too old to carry out his duties properly: "I have reached my 80th year, and that's an age that not one of my predecessors has reached during the exercise of their functions.

"I can only observe that my age and my health do not allow me to properly carry out my functions as I would hope to."

Belgium's King Albert II during his televised address.
Belgium's King Albert II during his televised address. Credit: Reuters

Albert II, who has three children, ascended to the throne in 1993 when his childless brother Baudouin passed away.

The abdication is just six months after Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands abdicated in favour of her son Willem Alexander.

Read more: New Netherlands king takes over